The Turn-around and Side-Trail


Lunch has been cooked, eaten, and packed up. I’ve got two bottles of water treated. They will be ready in four hours if I keep them out of the sunlight. In my pack they go. I didn’t realize one packet of freeze-dried spaghetti was enough for two people. I suppose it’s better to have too much than not enough.

The Pocket-Rocket stove worked great. It set up easy and boiled the water fast.

After a quick smoke break and map check, I head on down the trail.

My bright yellow shirt is enticing this bee. I’m loving this so far. The drive, the quiet. Other than a few fisherman and swimmers next to the trailhead there has been no one. All I can listen to is the creek and insects. Sometimes a bird. Or me. I can be the loudest thing right now. I have an empty water jug I use for a drum. I drum and pretend I am Sequoyah, reliving my time here in this wilderness. I sing to the water and to the rocks. I sing to the animals. I wonder if Sequoyah stood on this rock.

These gnats are incessant. (insect-sant)


Sitting on a big fallen tree.

Just past the “double-cross” there is a section that has been damaged by fire and storms. Difficult to pass with full pack, so I ditched my pack to scope it out. There is so much damage I don’t want to keep going. I did find a campsite among the debris, and it was wrecked as well. I thought this was the second primitive campsite, but I would learn later I was wrong. I had to get my pack and turn around.

It was about an hour hike back to the first campsite, or I could camp anywhere so long as I was away from the trail and the creek.

There have been a few creek crossings, or fords, and a heavily eroded shortcut meant to skip a couple. There are stones piled up to mark the side-trail on the westward trek. It’s better not to use this shortcut for two reasons: first, hiking on it only causes more erosion, and second, you miss a couple of campsites. I actually took the shortcut by accident, and didn’t realize I had gone the wrong way until I had turned around and was trekking back west. This time I saw the stone marker, and returned on the appropriate route fording the creek. It was on this leg I found the perfect place to set up for the night.

Author: beyondthesmokymountains

Poet, musician, explorer, and father. I thirst for the outdoors and revel in history.

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